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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Detained in Texas

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 18:17:41 +0000

Photodisc/Thinkstock(McALLEN, Texas) -- America’s most famous undocumented immigrant, former Washington Post reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, has been taken into custody by the Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas, authorities said Tuesday.

Vargas, who made a movie about his limbo status in the United States and came out publicly as an undocumented immigrant, has previously said he knew he was subject to deportation. Now his fears have come true.

Vargas came to the U.S. from the Philippines as a boy, sent to live with his grandmother. He said he did not know he was here illegally until he applied for a driver’s license and had no documents to prove citizenship.

He lived under the radar, working as a respected journalist since 2004.

Vargas did not qualify for the Dream Act, or deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), which allows children brought to the U.S. by undocumented parents to remain here, because he was over 30 years old, the cutoff age, at the time President Obama signed it into law in 2012.

Vargas said he traveled the country, knowing he was a low priority for the Border Patrol because he is not a criminal or a danger to the United States. But he also knew he could be arrested at any time.

Vargas went to the Mexican border recently to advocate for the masses of undocumented immigrant children crossing over -- a situation that officials have called a humanitarian crisis. He was going through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint to leave McAllen when he was detained, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Vargas tweeted the following just before he went through security:

Pope Francis sent a message to the “Mexico/Holy See Colloquium on Migration and Development,” calling on the “the international community to pay attention to this challenge,” referring to the humanitarian crisis at the border.

“The tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence,” the pontiff said. “This is a category of migrants...who cross the border with the United States under extreme conditions and in pursuit of a hope that in most cases turns out to be vain.”

He added that the numbers, which “are increasing day by day,” demand humanitarian assistance and “demands the attention of the entire international community so that new forms of legal and secure migration may be adopted.”


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